Creating the 800-Pound Guerrilla
Pivotal enlists executive muscle from the competition to conquer the mid-market
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Bo Manning has his sights set on dominating the mid-market--the way Siebel Systems Inc. owns the enterprise CRM space. And he is employing guerrilla tactics to do so. Manning, president and chief executive of Pivotal Corp., recently has hired top talent away from Deloitte Consulting, J.D. Edwards & Co., Oracle Corp., and Siebel. In doing so he is striving to build a team that will help Pivotal lock in market leadership in the mid-market CRM space, and lock out enterprise players. "We need to bring in people who are used to winning in a big way, and people from these companies are used to that," says Manning, whose goal is to grow Pivotal to a $500 million company, from its current level of more than $80 million in annual revenues. Although Pivotal's sales approach is much more collaborative than its larger competitors, Manning says, its executives still have to be savvy and aggressive to close the big deals. "We have an absolute focus on customer satisfaction and selling solutions that work," Manning says of the culture he is creating. "And that is attractive to customers." It is also attractive to prospective employees. "I joined Pivotal because I saw a highly energized team who joined the company to make something happen," says Jesper Andersen, who left Oracle to join the company this past April. "And I recognized the growth potential of both the industry and the company." As Pivotal's executive vice president of products, he will lead the development of the company's next-generation CRM suite. Having developed and launched Oracle's Web services CRM applications, Andersen says he understands the mid-market's need for customization and a fast ROI. "I want to ensure that we have the right product strategy and road map going forward, and that it is communicated well both internally and externally," Andersen says. "One of the reasons our products are leading in the industry is their ease of customization and integration into existing systems. This is especially important for the mid-market, and I want to continue that trend." Another recent newcomer, Melanie Bell, is determined to continue another company trend, "the continuous advancement of the revenue." Bell, Pivotal's senior vice president of North America strategic accounts and central region, was a former number one regional vice president for Siebel. Bell is used to contributing large numbers to the bottom line--in one year she brought Siebel more than $18 million in license revenue on her own and contributed to $70 million in license revenue as a manager. At Pivotal Bell plans to build on its cultural style of success by collaborating with customers throughout the sales cycle. "I can't emphasize enough the importance of Pivotal's collaborative culture," Bell says. In fact, the culture was one of the attractions for Bell. "Pivotal has a strong technology that companies are hungry for, and there is an appetite in the market for CRM," she says. "The company leadership, the style and culture of the company, and the market is clearly there. Pivotal is at the top of the scale in all three areas." But even with heavy-hitters like Bell, can Pivotal build itself up to be the mid-market's 800-pound gorilla? "We think we're the leader," Manning says. "We plan to become so big and dominant in the mid-market that it becomes unattractive to the larger players."
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